Your sinuses are a network of small channels behind your cheekbones and forehead that connect to the inside of your nose to keep it moistened. This layer helps to trap germs, dust and allergens and is the first line of defence to protect you from infections.
Your sinuses can sometimes become inflamed leading to headaches, tenderness and increased pressure making you feel ‘stuffed’ up. These are often the main symptoms of a sinus infection and once symptoms strike, you’ll want to know the fastest way to get rid of them.
What causes a sinus infection?
A sinus infection can be caused by bacteria or a virus. It is typically a secondary symptom of an upper respiratory tract infection and is common after a cold or flu. This leads to pressure and a feeling of tenderness around your cheeks, eyes and forehead. When the sinuses cannot drain, they can become infected and tender.
How do I know if I have a sinus infection?
The symptoms of a sinus infection are very similar to cold and flu symptoms, but some distinctions will help you to identify a sinus infection.
- Pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead.
- Pain in your face when leaning forward or lying down.
- A blocked nose.
- Loss of smell.
- Green or yellow mucus in your nose.
- Pressure headache.
- A high temperature.
- Bad breath.
Young children and babies with a sinus infection might be more irritable, have difficulty feeding and breath through their mouth.
What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Sinus Infection?
You can treat a sinus infection at home using over-the-counter medication. A decongestant nasal spray will help to loosen the mucus and unblock your nose.
You can also find decongestant products in cold and flu remedies such as Beechams or Lemsip. Look for ingredients such as “pseudoephedrine”, “phenylephrine” and “oxymetazoline” for best results.
You can also use a saline spray or rinse to help loosen and clear mucus more instantly. This NeilMed Sinus Rinse is a saline nasal irrigation kit that is very easy to use and will provide relief from sinus pain. Any saline irrigation products must be carefully prepared so that you don’t introduce more bacteria to the area.
How to support your body through a sinus infection
In addition to over-the-counter medication, there are also steps you can take to help your body to recover faster – You should get plenty of rest and try sleeping with your head slightly elevated.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluid. This can mean sipping water and clear liquids throughout the day and adding more soup and broths to your diet.
Avoid any allergic triggers and try to stop smoking while your body deals with the sinus infection. You should also avoid alcohol as this can dehydrate your body and delay healing.
What if your sinusitis won’t go away?
Some people have smaller sinus passages which make it more likely that their sinuses will become infected, and some suffer from chronic sinusitis, which is a sinus infection that will not go away or that keeps returning. If you have sinusitis for more than three months, or if you feel that you get sinus infections more than others, please visit your GP.